The community of Malakwa is located off the Trans-Canada Highway 1 in the Eagle Valley of the Shuswap region of British Columbia. The name Malakwa is a Chinook jargon word for Mosquito.
The Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) spans the Southern Interior of the province, linking Vancouver Island, Vancouver and the Fraser Valley with the Rocky Mountains at Golden. The 4,849-mile (7821-km) Trans-Canada is this country’s mythic highway, starting (technically) at Mile 0 in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and ending in Victoria, British Columbia (also Mile 0).
This corridor is a gateway to mountain adventure not to be missed by anyone who appreciates a wonderful view. Rugged mountains, glistening glaciers, lush forests, tumbling waterfalls, and crystal clear lakes abound, making the area between Sicamous and Revelstoke a photographer’s paradise.
If you like beautiful scenery, then take a walk on the Malakwa Suspension Bridge spanning the Eagle River in Malakwa. It was originally built in 1915 by local farmers to connect their farms to the community and school on the other side and was rebuilt by the Department of Highways in 1940.
The Eagle Pass (elevation 1790 ft) is one of the great natural clefts in the region’s mountain ranges, the existence of which made possible the transportation links which were basic to the development of British Columbia and to the creation of Canadian Pacific Railway. Exploration of the Eagle Valley is not complete without visiting some notable family attractions along the route.
Visit the historic site of the Last Spike at Craigellachie, hammered by Canadian Pacific Railway Director Donald Smith into the Transcontinental Rail Line that united Canada from coast to coast on 7th November 1885. The site is located at Craigellachie, 4.5 miles (7 kms) northeast of Malakwa on Highway 1. At the site are picnic tables and Craigellachie Station, an interesting information centre open from May to October.
Step into the miniature world at Beardale Castle Miniatureland at Craigellachie, where hundreds of handcrafted buildings and other exhibits are waiting to be discovered. With the touch of a button you will make cable cars, electric trains, Mother Goose nursery rhymes and many other fairy tales come to life.
The Enchanted Forest, midway between Sicamous and Revelstoke on the Trans Canada Highway, is a delight for all ages. The main trail of the Grand Old Forest provides the magical setting for over 250 lovingly hand crafted Jolly Fairy Folk figurines. Climb a giant 800-year-old cedar tree or stand inside the huge trunk of another!
Yard Creek Provincial Park is situated miles 2.5 miles (4 kms) south of Malakwa on Highway 1. Despite its roadside location, the regional park offers quiet, shady camping and is a pleasant stopover camp or even base camp when exploring the Shuswap area. The icy temperature of Yard Creek precludes swimming on even the hottest days. Conversely, for much of the year, moist conditions prevail here in the eastern reaches of the Interior wetbelt.
The remote Mount Griffin Provincial Park southeast of Malakwa was created to protect a range of ecosystems, from valley bottom wetlands to alpine and subalpine environments. The park consists of three separate areas, partially surrounding Mount Griffin Ecological Reserve. There is a small campsite in the park at Caribou Lake (west side of the park) and a Forest Recreation Site at Wap Lake (just outside the southwest corner of the park). The west side of Mount Griffin can be accessed via the Yard Creek forest service road, beginning at Yard Creek Provincial Park. The Caribou Lake trailhead is about 20 km from Yard Creek Park. The road is rough and seldom used; four-wheel drive vehicles with good clearance are recommended. Caribou Lake is about 3 km from the end of the road on a narrow trail.
Hiking: The short Caribou Lake Trail (just over 1 km) leads to a pristine sub-alpine mountain lake with good fishing and a user-maintained Forest Service campsite for overnight visits. To reach this trail turn south on the Malakwa Loop Road (across from Thrifty Gas). Turn right immediately on Oxbow Frontage Road. The first left after that is Yard Creek Loop Road. Go to the end (2.5 kms) where the Yard Creek Forestry Road begins. Take this road for 10.6 kms to a junction. Take the left turn and stay on the main road for another 14.4 kms. The trail begins here. The 1-kilometre Cummins Lake Trail leads to a remote sub alpine lake that has a user-maintained Forest Service Campsite. Fishing can be good. Directions are identical to the Caribou Lake Trail until the junction on Yard Creek Road at 10.6 kms. Instead of turning left stay to the right and continue for another 5.8 kms. A sign indicating the trail should be visible. The scenic and easy Gorge Creek Trail (1.5 km/1 hour) leads from the Last Spike monument at Craigellachie along both sides of Gorge Creek through an old-growth forest and past three small falls.
Snowmobiling is truly awesome in the area around Sicamous and Malakwa. Groomed trails on four local mountains feature riding for every level of experience – novice to extreme. The deep powder snow extends the sledding season well into the spring. Snowmobilers should head for Queest Mountain northwest of Malakwa, and Owlhead/Mara Mountain to the south of Malakwa.
For those who enjoy winter sports, the Revelstoke Mountain Resort on Mount MacKenzie southeast of Revelstoke, is known for its incredible powder, and great downhill skiing for the whole family. Mount McPherson has marked cross-country skiing trails with generally gentle slopes and large open areas with good views of the valley. Other good spots to try are LaForme Creek, Mt. Revelstoke Park, Frisby Ridge, Wap Creek Road, and many more in the area.
Southwest of Malakwa is the city of Sicamous, situated at the junction of the Shuswap and Mara Lakes in the Eagle Valley. The community of Sicamous is known as the Houseboat Capital of Canada, due to the more than three hundred houseboats that are rented out annually from the marinas on Shuswap Lake.
East of Malakwa is the city of Revelstoke, nestled high in the Monashee Mountains next to Mount Revelstoke National Park and Glacier National Park. Thee year-round playground of Revelstoke is flanked by the snow-capped peaks of the Selkirk Mountains to the east and the Monashees to the west, offering some of the most spectacular scenery in all of British Columbia.
Circle Tours: See the best of the area on Okanagan and Kootenay Rockies Circle Tour. Travel the sunny interior of British Columbia, north through the Okanagan to Sicamous, following Highway 1 into the mountains of the BC Rockies. From Golden, head south through the Columbia Valley to Creston, and west through the Southern Okanagan, starting and ending your sun-drenched voyage in Osoyoos, the place where two lakes come together. Circle Tours in British Columbia.